March 26, 2020
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), announced that legislation he helped introduce, the bipartisan Commission on America’s Medical Security Act, passed the Senate as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the phase 3 coronavirus response legislation. The CARES Act must now be passed by the House before reaching the president’s desk.
The Commission on America’s Medical Security Act directs the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assess America’s dependence on foreign-made medical equipment, devices, and medications and provide recommendations to improve the resiliency of our medical supply chain. As Labor/HHS chairman, Blunt successfully worked to secure the funding necessary for the National Academies to conduct its assessment.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in America’s medical supply chain that we have to address,” said Blunt. “With so many of the medical supplies that we use made by manufacturers in other countries, looking at ways to keep our nation’s medical supply chain protected from disruptions is a public health and national security priority. This bipartisan effort will help ensure we have a supply chain in place that allows us to respond to the coronavirus and prepare for future public health challenges.”
Approximately 40% of finished drugs and 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured overseas—primarily from China and India. The ongoing global coronavirus outbreak has highlighted broader public health and national security vulnerabilities stemming from our nation’s reliance upon foreign manufacturing and the shortcomings in our regulatory oversight of global supply chains. On February 27, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first coronavirus-related drug shortage, and on March 10, the FDA halted its routine overseas inspections of drugs and devices.